IASP has launched the 2019 Global Year Against Pain in the Most Vulnerable, an international campaign by the pain community to boost awareness and education that results in better pain relief for four patient groups deemed especially high risk for inadequate pain assessment and treatment. These vulnerable groups are children and babies, older adults, people with intellectual and development disabilities, and survivors of torture and war.

Although those populations communicate pain differently, they share a concerning trait: the frequent inability to effectively articulate their pain condition to health care providers. This communication challenge often means clinicians and others struggle to provide an appropriate diagnosis, resulting in a lack of treatment, undermedication, or overprescription. Fortunately, well-tested solutions exist, and vulnerable patients do not need to suffer, since providers spread throughout the world have been working to resolve problems. Spreading the word of successful approaches through education, knowledge-sharing, and outreach is a primary goal of the Global Year campaign.

The Global Year also will focus on identifying barriers to proper assessment and management of pain in vulnerable groups; exploring their most common types of pain and best assessment and management tools, understanding educational needs of health professionals who deal with pain in vulnerable populations, and targeting relevant areas for further research and development.

“IASP is well-positioned to unite and lead the diverse pain community in this year-long education and outreach campaign to generate hope and accelerate help,“ says IASP President Lars Arendt-Nielsen, whose passion to address the issue inspired him to create the theme. “Already we have partnerships with our 90-plus chapters, more than 20 special interest groups, and myriad external stakeholders such as nonprofits, patient health groups, and others in the government and medical communities that have influence and broad scope.“

Here are ideas for ways you can engage in the Global Year and help make a difference in millions of lives:
Visit the Global Year website to read and download materials. The site helps clinicians and researchers learn more about pain management for each vulnerable population via 13 fact sheets; article collections from IASP’s publications, PAIN, and Pain Reports; and other resources.